GUIDE TO THE BIPAP MASK INCLUDING TYPES OF MASKS

NASAL CPAP MASK

A BIPAP mask and CPAP mask are actually the same.  The main noticeable different is you can get more leakage with the BIPAP mask due to the variation in pressure between the inspiratory and expiratory pressures. Both masks are used to treat sleep apnea and can be used with BI PAP or CPAP machines.  A BIPAP mask and CPAP mask are actually the same.

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The main noticeable different is you can get more leakage with the BIPAP mask due to the variation in pressure between the inspiratory and expiratory pressures. Both masks are used to treat sleep apnea and can be used with BI PAP or CPAP machines. APAPs (Automatic airway pressure)are set to constantly adjust pressure to use the minimum amount needed to keep the airway open.  A CPAP (Continuous positive airway pressure) prescription can be used to buy an APAP machine.  So the APAP mask is the same as the BIPAP and CPAP mask. Any time you have sleep apnea the main goal is to keep the air movement and air pressure set to keep the airways open so you can receive oxygen with minimum effort to the respiratory system.   Apnea in sleep apnea typically lasts between 10-20 seconds.  Sleep apnea has been linked to interrupted or fragmented sleep, restlessness, high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.   There are cases where in obese people larger than normal tissue and this narrows or obstructs their airway.  Other causes are having an anatomical abnormality in the upper airway, medications, alcohol, and sleeping on your back.   Types of masks (this list includes the BIPAP mask and CPAP mask):

  • Nasal Pillows (small)  = Nasal pillows seal around the base of the nose using soft cushions.  This type of BiPAP mask is held in place with a single strap that wraps around the head.

 

  • Nasal Mask (medium) = Nasal Masks will seal around your nose in a triangle and is held with two head straps.  These are the oldest masks in use and can vary in comfort.  The nice thing is these masks do not cover your mouth.

 

  • Full Face (large) = A BIPAP mask that is a full face mask will seal around your nose and mouth and in some instances cover your entire face.  These are held into place by two straps that wrap around the head.  These masks are required by patients who breath through their mouth while they sleep.  The alternative for the mouth breathers is the nasal pillows or nasal masks in conjunction with a chinstrap to keep the patient’s mouth closed during the night.

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A Full Face mask to use for you BiPAP (Bilevel) mask may be required if you have chronic sinusitis, so you can’t breathe through your nose.  Or seasonal allergies or a cold has congested you.  Also if you are a mouth breather while you sleep.  In other words your mouth drops open while you breath during sleep and using a chin strap does not work for you due to being uncomfortable or you simply find it ineffective.   Once you begin to use the BIPAP mask you will know if it suits your needs and if it does not have the Respiratory Therapist work with adjusting it.   Eyeglass wearers or breaded men may prefer the Nasal Pillow type of BiPAP mask.   If you use a BiPAP mask and find you have an air leak some of the causes can be that the BIPAP mask is too big, too old, or just the wrong style.  Air leaking into the eyes is an indication the BIPAP mask is too big (too long or wide).  Leaks may occur at the bottom if you have a beard. APAPs (Automatic airway pressure)are set to constantly adjust pressure to use the minimum amount needed to keep the airway open.  A CPAP (Continuous positive airway pressure) prescription can be used to buy an APAP machine.  So the APAP mask is the same as the BIPAP and CPAP mask. Any time you have sleep apnea the main goal is to keep the air movement and air pressure set to keep the airways open so you can receive oxygen with minimum effort to the respiratory system. Apnea in sleep apnea typically lasts between 10-20 seconds.  Sleep apnea has been linked to interrupted or fragmented sleep, restlessness, high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. There are cases where in obese people larger than normal tissue and this narrows or obstructs their airway.  Other causes are having an anatomical abnormality in the upper airway, medications, alcohol, and sleeping on your back.  Types of masks (this list includes the BIPAP mask and CPAP mask):

  • Nasal Pillows (small)  = Nasal pillows seal around the base of the nose using soft cushions.  This type of BiPAP mask is held in place with a single strap that wraps around the head.
  • Nasal Mask (medium) = Nasal Masks will seal around your nose in a triangle and is held with two head straps.  These are the oldest masks in use and can vary in comfort.  The nice thing is these masks do not cover your mouth.
  • Full Face (large) = A BIPAP mask that is a full face mask will seal around your nose and mouth and in some instances cover your entire face.  These are held into place by two straps that wrap around the head.  These masks are required by patients who breath through their mouth while they sleep.  The alternative for the mouth breathers is the nasal pillows or nasal masks in conjunction with a chinstrap to keep the patient’s mouth closed during the night.

A Full Face mask to use for you BiPAP (Bilevel) mask may be required if you have chronic sinusitis, so you can’t breathe through your nose.  Or seasonal allergies or a cold has congested you.  Also if you are a mouth breather while you sleep.  In other words your mouth drops open while you breath during sleep and using a chin strap does not work for you due to being uncomfortable or you simply find it ineffective. Once you begin to use the BIPAP mask you will know if it suits your needs and if it does not have the Respiratory Therapist work with adjusting it. Eyeglass wearers or breaded men may prefer the Nasal Pillow type of BiPAP mask. If you use a BiPAP mask and find you have an air leak some of the causes can be that the BIPAP mask is too big, too old, or just the wrong style.  Air leaking into the eyes is an indication the BIPAP mask is too big (too long or wide).  Leaks may occur at the bottom if you have a beard.


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*The image on this page sourced to Amazon.

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Rebecca Beggs is a Former Registered Respiratory Home Care Practitioner now living in Lincoln, Nebraska.

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